tv [untitled] January 29, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
>> welcome to "culture wire." the director will introduce you to the man behind one of san francisco's most anticipated music festivals. ♪ >> welcome to "culture wire." with me today is the founder and financier behind the hardly strictly bluegrass festival. tell me about what inspired you to have the festival.
>> i am flattered that you would want to listen to me. now you are going to have to. i had a sort of fantasy for a lot of years that it would be really fun to put on a bluegrass festival. i have a friend named jonathan nelson. we were skiing one weekend. i told him about my fantasy. he said that i should do it. dawn holliday and sherry sternberg. the four of us had lunch. he said we would start a festival. that was the genesis. it was not anything more complicated than that. in my own defense, and was not yet playing the banjo -- i was not yet played the banjo. the ulterior motive i was accused of did not exist yet. >> i would have thought it was because of your interest in the
music and the instrument of the banjo that you play with a lot of love and enthusiasm. i would have thought that would lead to the founding of the festival. >> i have loved the music. much of my life. i really love the old time music. >> you mentioned dawn holliday. she works with you collecting the older music. >> she basically organizes the whole thing'. she decides who is going to be on. they have incredibly great bands opposite each other. i always worry about that, but she tells me not to. >> this has really grown in the number of participants. >> she kept asking what i would do about it and i kept saying nothing. i do not want to change
anything. i love it the way it is. i know it creates traffic jams, but so what? there ought to be something we can do once a year where there is a little bit of suffering a lot of pleasure. >> you have a band. >> the wronglers. i think this is our third or fourth year in the festival. the first year was spectacular. the band had played together less than a year at that point. this stage manager said he could give us 10 more minutes. i told him we did not know anything else. [laughter] so far, we have not had to audition for it. that may give them the idea. >> one thing that fascinated me is that it seems so incongruous
to consider someone with your background that is ultimately the driving force behind this fabulous music festival. >> i guess this sort of shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in one generation. i went to cal and went away for 28 years. i always wanted to come back. it turned out there was a wonderful moment in time when three of my four for children were living here. now all four do with their children. i thought there was a real opportunity. i wanted to start a new financial firm. it was a wonderful opportunity to do it in san francisco. i get to do business with people i do not the test. [laughter] >> you established your firm here. he reestablished your family roots here. -- you reestablished your family roots here. you used this festival as a way
to give back to the community even more. >> the theory of that was that we would have a concert for the middle school kids. we bust in nearly all of the middle school kids from san francisco and now from around the bay area. the kids love it. the letters i get are very endearing. school volunteers and the school districts are really into it. there is a lot of collaboration. >> i have this image in my mind of you as the biggest fan of the hardly strictly bluegrass festival. what are some of the highlights for you over the last 10 years? >> they are sort of the nostalgic highlights. every year at the end, when in the low harris -- emmylou harris closes the festival and someone else opens the festival. i always call them the heart and
soul of the festival. those are wonderful must object moments. having a chance to listen up close to some of the greats. those are some of the great emotional moments. there's always one moment that is so bizarre. 3 or four years ago i was sitting out front listening to emmylou harris. she was very stylishly dressed. i turned to her making conversation. i said there was a strong smell of pot and she asked if i wanted some. [laughter] the following year my wife said there was an elderly gentleman old banjos. he was a very nice man sitting on the ground.
he said he understood that i like old benches. he said he had three that he would like to show me. he said he understood that i liked white ladies. he said i would like this one. i asked if he was trying to sell the banjos. he said he was giving it to me. he was giving me a $3,000 musical instrument. he said he really wanted me to have it. >> that is a beautiful story. it is true. >> do you play it? >> yes. the this delta region the nostalgic, the letters, depreciation -- -- the nostalgia, the letters, the appreciation. i love the music and i love the way that people have gotten into way that people have gotten into it.